The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mnemosyne

Title: Mnemosyne aka Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Xebec
Format: 6 OVAs
Date: 3 Feb 2008 – 6 Jul 2008

Synopsis: Asogi Rin is a private investigator who takes on any job, ranging from high-profile cases involving breaching a high-security corporate laboratory to innocently finding a lost cat for a client. However, Rin is actually immortal and is able to self-regenerate herself after sustaining mortal injuries. The truth behind her immortality is something she has been seeking for ages, hiding aside a deep dark secret about people similar to her.

The Highlights
Good points: Some stylish action and a truly original concept.
Episodic formula: Makes each episode fresh and interesting to watch.
Amount of violence: Plenty, and gory enough to make one cringe.
Genre: Almost crossing the line between fan service and pornography.

I actually appreciate some fan service in an anime occasionally; the same goes for violence. This is provided that they know their place and they are done with taste. I would dislike it if either were included unnecessarily in an otherwise engaging show or if there was just too much of it. Mnemosyne is a good example of the latter notion, bogging itself down with too much fan service and violence and eventually diminishing itself into mediocrity.

The excessive amount of sex and gore involved in Mnemosyne is made apparent right from the start. I admit that I can enjoy a bit of adult action and mature violence occasionally. However, even as a guilty pleasure, I really find it hard to stomach what is portrayed in Mnemosyne. Both factors are extravagantly used, but the extent drowns out a potentially good anime. In every episode, it seems impossible for the story to progress without having a couple (not always heterosexual, by the way) banging together or seeing someone being mutilated. Bluntly put, it’s likely every character in Mnemosyne is either in heat or has a sadistic complex.

In what seems to be a shallow show full with adult entertainment, I can still see some good in Mnemosyne. The show is built on a good foundation: an original concept that is deep and compelling. Each episode gives an adequate amount of clues to the reasons why our protagonist Rin is immortal and the dark story behind an unknown surreal phenomenon. Furthermore, the story of Mnemosyne is told on a defined timeline and each episode takes place in a different period of time. This results in a fresh take on the story for every episode, which is helpful since each episode was released month apart. Also, the way the world and the people around Rin constantly change while she remains ageless adds another interesting element to events.

I sincerely wanted to like Mnemosyne, I really do. The haunting music, profound storyline and colorful cast are important ingredients to a great gem of an anime, but the amount of sexual innuendo and hard-to-watch bloodshed shrouded the gem’s brilliance. Even with the variety of sexual instances and gut-wrenching violence such as bondage, sadomasochism, lesbian orgy and voyeurism, they are simply distracting and done excessively. Mnemosyne is for those seeking stylish adult-like entertainment who aren’t squeamish and have the right expectations. My advice to everyone: to watch this you’ll need an open mind and guts of steel.

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: AC

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